We kick off what is five races broadcast live on Channel 4 today with a Group 3 race over a mile and roughly half a furlong. I don’t think it’d be too unjust to say that this isn’t a group race packed with the cream of the crop and in fact is a bit of a poor group race. Never the less its a race that still needs to be deciphered and dissected and one we hope to kick off in winning ways.
The current market leader is William Buick’s mount Odeliz. It’s safe to say the horses second placed finish behind Thistle Bird last year is probably the best form out of all ten runners. The five year old deserves its place at the head of the betting but considering the horse hasn’t won a race since September 2013 I couldn’t be with it at a price as short as 3/1.
Of the other runners I fear David Lanigan’s four year old Bold Lass the most. A winning return was impressive and there’s no doubt it can improve on that success and strip fitter for that run. The horse has won over the distance as well and clearly poses an obvious threat.
The one I’m going with certainly needs to step up from its listed success in its last race but as muted earlier I don’t think this race is that packed in terms of depth. Don’t Be racked up a fair few successes over the winter and if truth be told I didn’t hold out much hope for its turf career over the summer. It’s win in its last race was close but came home flying just to get up at Goodwood over a mile and although only half a furlong extra is going to be of benefit. Sir Mark Prescott has his yard in good order and should do well at a decent price.
Don’t Be (E/W)
The second race of the day seems to be under an all out assault from Yorkshire based trainer Mark Johnston who saddles three horses that all hold very lively chances. Fire Fighting, Master Of Finance and Sennockian Star. Of the three I would favour Master Of Finance who I feel has more to come than the other two course winners but there shouldn’t be much between them. That being said however my selection lies elsewhere.
William Haggas’s Seagull Star should have a decent chance but without a run under its belt this season a lot is taken on trust as to wether or not the horse will be ready for this first time out.
Both Fattsota and Tres Coronas would have a good claim if it weren’t for their high weights.
This has left me in a predicament where there is two that I like the look of.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s What About Carlo is a course and distance winner who has been slightly disappointing since its win here back in June last year. That being said it now has the services of former champion jockey Paul Hanagan and it looks like the horse has been prepped with this race in mind.
The other horse that has made it on to my short list is the oldest horse in the race. Dance And Dance may be nine years old but it has a phenomenal record at Epsom. The horse will undoubtedly come on for its seasonal reappearance and with promising amateur Tom Marquand taking an extra seven pounds off the horses back its obviously going to be an obvious advantage.
What About Carlo (E/W)
Dance And Dance (E/W)
Yet another group race awaits as we move on to The Diomed Stakes.
With only seven runners going to post I can only realistically see the winner coming from one of three runners. I don’t mean to discredit any of the other four runners and i may be made to eat my own words but if the winner is away from Custom Cut, Arod or Shifting Power I will be surprised.
Arod is the current favourite and after a decent third placed finish in its last race it has a great chance but if you consider that despite it’s decent runs in defeat it has only ever won twice. One was it’s maiden at the second attempt and one was a three runner race. That type of winning form doesn’t inspire the greatest of confidence especially at such a short price of 15/8.
David O’Meara has had a fair few winners recently and sends six year old Custom Cut into the race. This horse should be written off at your peril and last year kept proving its doubters wrong when picking up wins in group company. Those great wins however are coupled with equally poor performances and it is hard to judge when the horse is going to run well. Its ninth placed finish last time out wasn’t great and as such I’m going to side with the Richard Hannon runner.
Shifting Power is pretty consistent and the Hannon stable has to be followed in the week or so before Ascot as Richard is bound to have his runners ready. The horse ran well in last years Guineas and now at the age of four I think it has progressed even further and has enough to take this.
Shifting Power (WIN)
A decent looking class two handicap is the precursor to the big race of the day and top weight Abseil is way out in front on the betting front. The Sir Michael Stoute five year old is a course and distance winner came back to the course this year with a pleasing third placed finish at York and that form reads pretty well. But a three pound rise for that run puts the horse at its highest ever mark and although I think the horse is probably the most likely winner, 3/1 in thirteen runner handicap doesn’t look that much in the way of value.
Going from one course and distance winner to another and my selection for this. Four year old Gratzie gets the nod from me. Obviously the Mick Channon runner has to make a step up in terms of the races it has taken part in previously but with a 100% record when racing at Epsom and a pipe opener at Thirsk to dust of the cobwebs it has to have a great chance.
Of the remaining runners the two I fear the most, aside from the favourite are Sound Advice and Obsidian.
16:30 Epsom (The Oaks)
It’s the big one of the day as the fillies take centre stage in this years 2015 classic The Oaks.
1,000 Guineas winner Legatissimo lines up as probably the biggest threat from Ireland as joint favourite. Clearly the horse is classy and has a fantastic chance and if truth be told there’s not much that puts me off the horse but also there’s not much that puts me off most of the horses at the head of the market.
Crystal Zvezda joins Legatissimo at the head of the market and has an equally good chance of winning the big race here. It won its trial at Newbury very easily and has to enter calculations.
All this being said however and because I can’t split the two favourites I’m going to look for value elsewhere.
Jack Naylor has done well in its two year old career but I would argue that she hasn’t been overly impressive when taking a step up this season.
Lady Dubai is a bit of an unknown quantity and consistency is something she seems to have struggled with.
Star Of Seville and Together Forever both raced against each other in a trial at York and how good a trial that was is somewhat debatable with only five runners taking part.
It is also interesting to note that jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode Star Of Seville last time, leaves that horse in favour of taking the ride on Jazzi Top and as such that is where my selection lies. The John Gosden runner will need to step up but so do most of these entrants and with a decent win at Newmarket under her belt and I fell a step up in trip will also benefit her chances. At 14/1 the price seems good value and although it may not be the winner has a great chance of running into the places.
Jazzi Top (E/W)
by Rory Paddock